Foie Gras


If I were ever asked what my last meal would be, it wouldn’t be a difficult answer. Foie gras, seared gently and cooked medium-rare, served with a compote of sorts and some toasts. It’s heaven on a plate to me.

Sadly, I can count the number of people I know who love liver as much as I do on one finger. So as a result, I’ve rarely prepared it.

Fortunately, I am able to buy beef liver where I live, and do enjoy it on occasion, typically with eggs and lots of browned onions.

And, I am able to purchase chicken liver in order to make chicken liver paté.

But there is just no comparing a slice of beef liver, or puréed chicken livers to the wonderfulness that is foie gras, and it was high time I purchased it.

My source for foie gras is the wonderful store and website D’Artagnan. The founder of D’Artagnan is Ariane Daguin, and her story is inspirational.

I purchased two lobes from D’Artagnan – one to cook sliced, and the other to make a paté for the holidays.

Foie Gras with Beet Pancakes, Poached Apples, and Nectar

I chose to serve the foie gras with beet pancakes, which I made simply with grated beets, chopped shallots, egg, and flour.

Because fruit pairs so well with foie gras, I poached apple slices in a combination of apple nectar and maple syrup until soft, then reduced the liquid until syrupy.

Sometimes there is confusion, as one can make paté from liver, or one can make paté from foie gras, as my friend Stéphane did when I visited him at his home five long years ago. I got to help a little!

To prepare the foie gras, slice the lobe gently but firmly. Place the slices on a plate, and season with salt and pepper.

I like to cook foie gras in browned butter. I prefer a lighter sear, so I immediately turned down the fire after turning over the foie gras slices.

It only takes a few minutes per side, depending on the thickness. As I mentioned, I love foie gras medium rare. To the plate with 2 slices of foie gras I added a beet pancake, some of the nectar-poached apples, and then poured on a little syrup.

The combination was perfection, if I may say so myself!

I included the beet pancake for color, but one could place the foie gras slices on bread slices optionally.

If all you’ve heard about foie gras is the inhumane treatment of ducks and geese, please read this article by my favorite Serious Eats writer J. KENJI LÓPEZ-ALT. The article is well-researched, educational, and also based on personal experience.

62 thoughts on “Foie Gras

  1. Wow! That looks wonderful, Mimi. I definitely love foie gras as much as you and have always named it as part of my ‘last meal’. I’ve never tried cooking it myself though so this is an inspiration! I also like calves’ liver and always eat Fegato alla Veneziana any time I go to Venice. I’m not so keen on lambs’ liver these days, although my mother regularly cooked it when I was a child; I find the flavour a bit too strong now and it lacks the delicacy of foie gras and calves’ liver.

  2. Interesting. I’ve never had lamb’s liver. I should probably seek it out… thank you for the compliment. Foie gras really is something wonderful.

  3. Mimi, you can count me on your little finger, as I love liver and medium rare is fine with me. I remember the first time a had foie gras vividly as it was a major food WOW for me. Your foie gras looks marvelous and with those beet pancake and pears it looks perfect.

  4. Wow! What a gorgeous meal! I love the beet pancakes and apples. I do not care for liver but I love it in pate’. Especially love it with Foie Gras and Port!

    • Chicken liver pate´is so good. This was the first time I’d made my own foie gras pate´, which I didn’t do a post on. Do you mean you don’t care for just eating a slice of liver?

      • Yes. I’m not fan of liver on it’s own but love it in Pate’ . I think it a texture thing.

  5. Although many people say they don’t like liver (I suspect many who do like paté do not know the basic ingredient – not your readers of course) but it is still very popular in the UK. The traditional British meal – liver, bacon and onions – was a staple in our house when I was young, the liver being ox liver (which is still just about the cheapest meat you can buy). I make that from time to time. It has to be well cooked to be tender.
    However, liver must still be popular here because any butcher will have ox liver, lamb’s liver and, more rarely, calve’s liver on display.
    Calve’s liver is of course the basis of a renowned Italian dish, Fegato alla Veneziana, which is just wonderful. It is traditionally served with polenta I believe. I make that occasionaly too where, instead of fruit, caramalised onions add the sweetness.
    But I actually like the bitterness of liver which the fruit/onions are intended to offset.
    The most eaten liver in our house is chicken livers, in an odd Romanian combination. It is served with ‘cottage cheese’ combined with sour cream and served with ‘mămăligă’ – a Romanian version of ‘polenta’ which I prefer, being coarser and with more flavour if from the countryside rather than from ‘commerce’. When my wife makes it the liver is well-cooked. When I make it is medium rare. I like either.
    I’ve only ever eaten fois gras in France. It is indeed heaven on a plate but personally I prefer it without the fruit.

    • That’s interesting! My reduction wasn’t overly sweet. Of course I don’t like anything sweet. I’d rather enjoy a baked Brie with sautéed mushrooms instead of honey! Very interesting about the Romanian dish. Sounds really fascinating!

  6. Yet another thing we have in common – a love of liver(s)! Love beef love calves liver, duck love, lamb liver, and – above all – foie gras! I need to order a lobe or two from D’artagnan. Thanks for a good reminder! Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Happy Thanksgiving to you both as well. Already working… Between T dinner and brunch on the following day I’ve got too many dishes planned!

  7. I grew up eating my grandmother’s chicken livers and hearts. We used to cook them in a pan just like you have done and they were so delicious. I have never made my own foie gras! Looks interesting Mimi and I can only imagine how delicious it must be!

    • It’s all good, though really, right? Chicken livers? Hearts? Beef liver? Foie gras is just a step above, but it’s not necessary to make your own, if you can order it at a restaurant.

  8. Mimi – another exquisite post 😊. I agree with you (and Ron) re foie gras…when I first had it in France I was blown away….it too is one of my favourite foods and I think the way you have presented it is lovely…

  9. I’m a liver fan too but rarely prepare it bacause it’s too much fuss when I’m the only one who will eat it. My local deli sells a delicious duck liver parfait so I get my fix often enough

    • Exactly! I have the same problem, unfortunately – also with lamb and duck. Sounds like you have a good deli, thankfully !

    • Thank you, Frank! And this is me making that decision with a gun at my temple! So many wonderful foods from which to choose…

    • You just have to buy the lobes, that’s all. And have a good source, of course! It’s not something I make often, since I have to eat it all by myself. I know I’ve gained at least 20 pounds directly related to this blog. I get to make things I like, but then I kinda have to eat them!

  10. I love foie gras and like you, not many people around me do. I remember years ago dining with travel companions in Europe. Foie gras was always served as amuse bouche and I was the only one of my party of 10 who liked it–it was heaven for me!

    • Did you get to eat all ten servings?!!! Once at a winery in France our family was served a terrine as a first course, and I ate all four servings!

  11. This looks great, Mimi! My favorite dish is Tournedos Rossini, which this year I’ll be making for New Year’s Eve. When I had Rossini for the first time in a restaurant in France, I was making inappropriate noises while eating! If you’ve seen When Harry Met Sally, you know what I’m talking about. I would recommend a nice glass of Sauternes with your dish :-)

    • HAHAHAHAHAHA! I do love reading your comments. Once when visiting Stephane with a girlfriend, we went to a restaurant in the Dordogne just to have that dish. And it was spectacular. And I got double the foie gras because my girlfriend can’t handle the texture. More for me! When I ate the foie gras that day I served myself Lillet.

  12. PS as you know I do themed wine dinner parties. I’ve toying with the idea of a foie gras theme; I probably have enough friends who wouldn’t mind 5 courses of foie gras. Will you come?

  13. I must admit that I’ve never actually made foie gras at home. I think it’s high time that I tried it out! And I also really appreciate you sharing that Serious Eats article. Interesting and super informative!

    • About animal abuse – I visited a goose farm in the Dordogne where I saw the geese running over to the farmer and clamoring for grain – they didn’t look unhappy to me. I suppose anyone who enjoys animal products is sanctioning animal abuse. Ever see a truck load of pigs heading for the slaughter house?

  14. The first time I ate foie gras in France I thought I had died and gone to heaven! It was served with a small glass of Sauterne, which in itself was a revelation. Foie gras was ‘outlawed’ in California but that might have changed. I will see if I can order some for the holidays, both my husband and I adore it.

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